Best PC strategy games 2024 - our top picks

A Cathayan general leads his warriors into battle
(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

The best PC strategy games keep you on your toes with meaningful choices and weighty decisions, drawing you into their worlds with rewarding mechanics and impressive scale. 

Full of that gripping 'one more turn' factor, these games rival the best RPGs (role-playing games) and best story games with their emergent narratives, courtesy of all the meaningful choices you'll have to make throughout a campaign. These titles will take you from fantastical battlefields to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, from Ancient Rome to Wembley Stadium. No matter your tastes, we've got you covered. 

At TechRadar, we've spent thousands of hours experimenting and testing PC all sorts of different strategy games to discern the best from the rest. If you're looking for a strategy title to sink your teeth into, you've come to the right place. Read on for a comprehensive list of the very best titles in the genre, including some offerings that you may not have heard of.

Best PC strategy games 2024

Screenshot from Football Manager 2024 showing an in-game menu

(Image credit: Sports Interactive)
Why we love it

Football Manager 2024 is probably more fun than running an actual football club. Whether it's tweaking tactics, signing star players, or talking to the press, Football Manager 2024 lets you do whatever management you want, and delegate the bits you don't. 

Football Manager 2024 is a top-tier strategy game that doesn't initially look like one. Beneath the promise of guiding a football team to glory, there's a wealth of spreadsheets and crunchy options to get stuck into to turn your team of has-beens into world-beaters. 

The game can get as deep as you want with AI staff members able to step in and help with tactics or training, and even able to recommend signings. But the fun of it is in being able to drop yourself anywhere in football and just taking a swing at running a club for yourself, whether it's Coventry City or Barcelona. 

Not into football? That's fine, the intricate depth of systems and the way they lock together to create a believable facsimile of the football world creates the same compulsion to pull, prod, and manipulate as strategy greats like Crusader Kings 3 and Victoria 3.

The city of Baltimore in Civilization 6

(Image credit: Firaxis Games)

8. Sid Meier's Civilization 6

History at your fingertips
Why we love it

Civilization 6 allows you to tinker with the past, letting you stick key elements from human history into a blender and encouraging you to happily imbibe what comes out. Combine that with robust, moreish turn-based mechanics, and you've got something special.

The Civilization series ranks highly amongst the best PC strategy games, and Civilization 6 is no exception. Like its predecessors, Civ 6 grounds the stakes and spectacle of its grand strategy in our own reality, ensuring that any who play it instantly have a frame of reference for what's going on. 

Over several dozen hours, you'll guide and mold your fledgling civilization, bending the course of history. Why not have the U.S. build the Eiffel Tower or the Incas develop steam power years before the British? With Civilization 6, history is yours to shape. The title is especially strong in multiplayer, too, and well worth playing alongside friends. 

Industrial towers clad in ominous red banners against a snowy backdrop

(Image credit: 11 Bit Studios)

7. Frostpunk

The city must survive
Why we love it

Bleak and atmospheric, Frostpunk's main antagonists are the hostile, frozen environment and human frailty. This indie strategy offering will push you to your limit, asking exactly how far you might go to survive. 

Perhaps the best PC strategy game when it comes to a single-player experience, Frostpunk is a brutal title that'll force you to make dozens of difficult choices. The premise is novel, too. Taking place in an alternate version of Victorian England, the world has been gripped by a sudden winter, freezing the land to the core. You are the captain of one of the last holdouts. Gather coal, build infrastructure, and pass laws as you attempt to weather the storm.  

You will need to decide who to triage and who to save. Do you tell your people the truth, or is a brutal surveillance state the only way to ensure survival? Not for the faint of heart, Frostpunk will push your strategy skills to the limit as you attempt to save humanity from the Great Freeze. 

Crusader Kings 3 gameplay showing a world map

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

6. Crusader Kings 3

Crowning achivement
Why we love it

Crusader Kings 3 isn't just a great strategy game, it's also a powerful tool for emergent storytelling, letting you guide your chosen dynasty through chaotic and dramatic life events. Many games claim that every run is different - Crusader Kings 3 delivers on that promise. 

Crusader Kings 3 sits comfortably among the best PC strategy games of recent years. In this century-spanning title, you take on the role of a feudal noble during the medieval period. Throughout your character's life, you'll make countless decisions, ranging from the personal to the political. You'll wind up embroiled in a complex web of politics and social intrigue, underpinned by marriages, vendettas, and raw ambition.  

What's more, every game of Crusader Kings 3 is different, a promise delivered by the game's mind-bogglingly broad library of events and happenings, enhanced by constant updates. Crusader Kings 3 isn't just a test of your strategic nous, but also tells an emergent story. Players come away from campaigns full of anecdotes and amusement. With the title available on Xbox Game Pass, there's never been a better time to join in.

Magik smashing her glowing blue fist into an enemy

(Image credit: 2K)

5. Marvel's Midnight Suns

Save the world and make some friends
Why we love it

Marvel's Midnight Suns requires just as much strategy off the battlefield as on it. Which bonds do you cultivate with your teammates? What new skills do you research and where do you strike next? From top to bottom, Midnight Suns is full of choices.

One of the best PC strategy games when it comes to immersing you in its world, Marvel's Midnight Suns puts you in charge of a team of superheroes with the goal of preventing a world-ending supernatural disaster. Midnight Suns combines role-playing-game elements with fleshed-out strategy mechanics, letting you create your own character and then lead a superhero squad in turn-based combat. Battles take the form of a deep and rewarding card game, where your heroes wail on goons and villains by taking actions based on cards drawn from their own unique decks - decks you can customize between missions.

Marvel's Midnight Suns also places a considerable emphasis on writing and storytelling. Between missions you can socialize with other heroes, learning more about one another and getting some powerful buffs in the process. Who you watch TV with after a sortie is just as important as the sortie itself, adding a delightful layer of social interactivity which a lot of strategy games lack by comparison. Those looking for a well-rounded superhero strategy game need look no further.

A player inspects a drainage hole in Against the Storm

(Image credit: Eremite Games)
Why we love it

Against the Storm's roguelite elements give every one of your towns a sense of permanency and a place in your wider quest to save your people. Unfolding in a deliciously complex web of choices, Against the Storm's campaigns are strategy heaven.

A game where you control groups of whimsical-looking animal people might seem lighthearted on the surface. However, beneath its charming exterior, Against the Storm is a grueling strategy experience, standing proudly amongst the best PC strategy games. You play as a powerful figure called the Viceroy and, under orders from the Scorched Queen, you must lay claim to the wilderness to rebuild the Smoldering City - your last hope against an impending natural disaster known as the Blightstorm. 

In Against the Storm, it's as much about the networks you build between cities as it is about the cities themselves. You'll need to maintain order, achieve prosperity, and stave off the Blightstorm, all while making your way towards important goals on an overworld map. Thanks to varied biomes and oodles of modifiers, you'll be hard-pressed to play the same game twice.

Empire management in Stellaris. A galactic map with box-outs showing the details of the selected systems

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

3. Stellaris

The final frontier
Why we love it

Stellaris makes the galaxy into your personal playground. Not only can you customize your faction in almost any way you can think of, but the game itself allows you to take that faction in almost any direction as you evolve from a fledgling civilization to a mighty stellar empire.

Stellaris is to galactic conquest what Crusader Kings 3 is to medieval kingdoms. Both are developed by Paradox Interactive, but Stellaris takes a rather broader approach, allowing you to build an interstellar civilization of almost any kind. From starship construction to planetary management, there's a huge amount for you to do in this strategy epic. This breadth comfortably earns Stellaris a place on this best PC strategy games list.

Want to play as a federation of human do-gooders who want to seek out new life and new civilizations? You can. Want to be an alien hive mind hell-bent on devouring all organic life in the galaxy? You can do that, too. Thanks to the wealth of customization options and expansions available, the possibilities are nearly endless.

A Bloodthirster of Khorne marshals its forces

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

2. Total War: Warhammer 3

Fighting fantasy
Why we love it

Total War: Warhammer 3's Immortal Empires mode offers a dizzyingly vast campaign that covers an entire fantasy world. The game's strategy layer gives you the sense of running a fantasy empire, a fantasy that comes to life thanks to the scale of this unique game mode.

Total War: Warhammer 3 is one of the best PC strategy games when it comes to fantasy. Armies of Elves, demons, ogres, and more clash across the Old World of Games Workshop's classic fantasy setting in stunning real-time battles. As you'd hope, each faction behaves very distinctly; the noble knights of Bretonnia's majestic cavalry couldn't be more different from the conniving infiltrators of the rat-like Skaven. 

What's more, the game's campaigns have you manage an entire faction, building armies, upgrading cities, and spending resources to best defeat your enemies. Though the basic campaign makes for an engaging story, the ambitious Immortal Empires mode allows you to battle across locations from all three games in the series, using any of the trilogy's factions. It's extremely impressive and needs to be seen to be believed.

XCOM 2

(Image credit: 2K Games)

1. XCOM 2

Resist
Why we love it

XCOM 2 makes you care about your soldiers by giving them just enough of a personality to make their deaths hurt. As they level up, they'll take on specialized roles and gain their own storied histories as part of the resistance. XCOM 2 isn't just your story, it's theirs.

XCOM 2 is the sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and offers a major twist: we lost. Aliens have invaded Earth and humanity has been conquered - a novel premise from one of the best PC strategy games out there. In XCOM 2, you're not leading Earth's defenses, you're leading its last resistance movement. Take the fight to the alien overlords and discover what they're planning before it's too late.

In this high-stakes title, you'll take command of the Avenger, an alien supply craft that has been transformed into XCOM's mobile headquarters. From here, you'll be able to enjoy an open-ended experience that lets you take control of your strike team. Guide them, and attempt to preserve them through perilous missions as you fight to unravel alien tyranny.

Best PC strategy games: FAQs

Frostpunk screenshot depicting a frozen wasteland

(Image credit: Steam)

What is the top PC game?

Baldur's Gate 3 is likely the number one PC game that's come out over the last year or so, appealing to critics and fans en masse. Though not a full-on PC strategy game,  there's plenty of thinking to do during its turn-based combats. 

When it comes to the best PC strategy game on this list, however, it's harder to arrive at an answer. Many offer wildly different experiences that'll appeal to different audiences. For instance, those looking for a cozy time are more likely to enjoy the colorful warmth of Civilization 6 than they are the grim march of Frostpunk. All of the titles on this list are 'number one' to somebody.

What is the difference between RTS and strategy games?

While there's some mechanical overlap, strategy games and RTS (real-time strategy) titles operate in different time frames and at different scales. For instance, Dune: Spice Wars has you control a small expeditionary force rather than a whole empire, while also demanding that you make decisions in real-time that affect the outcome of a self-contained engagement. 

Conversely, the likes of XCOM 2 have you make turn-based choices that affect the outcome of a specific long-term campaign. Individual battles play out part of a wider whole. However, there is certainly overlap. Though both Stellaris and Against the Storm have real-time elements, the action can be paused in both titles. However, contrary to traditional RTS titles like Starcraft 2, these games have a wider focus, ensuring that even your small choices have long-term consequences.  

How we made our best PC strategy games list

Our best PC strategy games list aims to show off the range of different sub-genres available across the strategy landscape. While ensuring that our list consists of only the most finely polished experiences, we also wanted to ensure that everything from sci-fi to fantasy was represented. 

Here at TRG, we've spent thousands of collective hours playing strategy games - an expertise that we're keen to pass on to the consumer. We know what makes a great strategy game, and every title on this list more than fits the bill.

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Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.

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